Author Archives: adamworkercheckscom

What Is An ACIC Accredited Provider?

ACIC Accredited Provider

Are you getting your criminal history check from ACIC Accredited Provider ?

When researching for information about police checks or applying for a police check online, you might find that the term ACIC (Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission) accredited body comes up frequently on the different websites of Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check  providers. To ensure you have a good understanding of what a police check is and what the process entails, it’s important to be aware of what an accredited body is.

When applying for a Police Check, you should use an ACIC accredited provider to ensure the process is done properly. An accredited body will submit a police check on your behalf in order to perform a criminal record check. The results of this will appear on a National Police Clearance. Here is all you need to know about ACIC accredited bodies.

What Is An ACIC Accredited Body?

ACIC accredited body refers to an organization that has been accredited by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) to provide Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks (NCCHC) in Australia.

The ACIC is the national agency responsible for criminal records and information management in Australia, and its accreditation program sets standards for organisations that provide NCCHC services to ensure the quality and integrity of the results.
Organisations, such as Worker Checks, have been accredited by the ACIC are authorised to access the National Police Checking Service (NPCS) and provide NCCHC results to individuals and organisations for specific purposes, such as employment, volunteer work, and visa applications.
An ACIC accredited body is required to adhere to strict security and privacy standards and comply with the ACIC’s Information Release Policy. By using an ACIC accredited body, individuals and organisations can be assured that the NCCHC results are accurate, reliable, and consistent.

Who is ACIC?

ACIC stands for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission is the national agency for criminal intelligence in Australia. ACIC works closely with Australian government and law enforcement agencies to fight crime by sharing information between police forces through its services.

According to the ACIC website, its motto is to create ‘An Australia hostile to criminal exploitation’.

What Does ACIC Do?

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission reacts to crime on a national scale in Australia. Through the National Police Checking Service, criminal information can be shared across all states and territories in Australia through law enforcement agencies and police databases. This helps the nation to keep track of criminal activity, conduct Australian Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks (NCCHC), and to tackle crime of the highest level. ACIC aims to keep the nation and the community safe.

What Does ACIC Accredited Provider Do?

An accredited body will serve as a provider of Australian Police Checks for individuals who require a check as part of employment screening, registering, licencing and legal purposes. It will submit applications on behalf of the applicant and deliver the results back to them, following a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks (NCCHC).

What Is The National Police Checking Service?

The National Police Checking Service (NPCS) is the system which holds the information of police history records. All accredited bodies have equal access to the service, and use it to search and match applicant’s to Persons of Interest.

What Is A Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

A Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks (NCCHC) is also known as a National Police Clearance. It is delivered as a National Police Certificate which shows the results of a person’s criminal record check taken from the police information gathered in all states and territories. It is mainly used for identity verification purposes and most commonly for pre-employment screening with companies.

Who Can Become An ACIC Accredited Provider?

There are currently over 180 ACIC accredited bodies in Australia. If successful, the ACIC website states that the following types of organisations can become an accredited body:

Federal, state and local Australian government agencies
Businesses in the private sector
Not-for-profit organisations
Screening services for child and vulnerable person-related employment

Who Do ACIC Accredited Provider Work For?

Any accredited body will have the potential to submit police clearance requests for many people and for many purposes. When applying for accreditation, there are different categories available to choose from for who you want to submit police checks for. These are as follows:

Members of the general public
Other organisations
Existing employees or potential new employees
Individuals for licencing and registration reasons

What Is The Agreement?

Every organisation which becomes ACIC accredited must confirm that they have read and understood the conditions of the Agreement, a legally binding contract called the Agreement for controlled access by duly Accredited Bodies to Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks. The Agreement lasts for 5 years unless it is terminated early, for instance, if the organisation has not met its obligations.

The company must comply with several legalities including the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 (Cth), the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), Australian Privacy Principles and Spent Conviction schemes. The Agreement must be read, understood and signed before access is granted to the organisation, allowing it to use the service.

Please note, your organisation will be assessed throughout the term of the contract to ensure all obligations are being met. Failure to do so may result in your organisation losing its accreditation and thereby losing access to the service.

Full details of the Agreement can be found on the website of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

What Is The Accreditation Process?

7 steps are listed as part of the accreditation process with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

The organisation must complete the online questionnaire provided by ACIC. This step will determine eligibility and allow you to progress to the next step if you are successful.
The organisation must then complete and submit the application form
Following receipt of the application form, ACIC will determine if you are a suitable organisation to register as an accredited body
You will receive in writing whether your application has been approved or denied
The agreement is signed and finalised
Training is supplied for using the service
In the final step, your organisation will be ready to begin submitting police checks and actively work as an accredited body

How Does An NPC Provider Get Certified?

An organisation which can provide a National Police Check will need to meet a number of requirements set out by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to become ACIC certified. The organisation must have provided the minimum volume of police checks, which is 500 police checks over 5 years, to be given the opportunity to become ACIC accredited. There are several other steps to be taken to meet the standards required, including being able to demonstrate the benefit that the organisation brings to public safety.

After meeting the initial criteria, the organisation must then follow the official process to become an accredited body.

What Legislation Applies?

All accredited bodies who have access to the National Police Checking Service are granted a level of trust. You and your organisation will be responsible for safely storing the personal information of individuals who have applied for a National Police Check. There are laws in place to ensure the protection of information gathered and held by the accredited body. The information gathered from a criminal record check is in compliance with relevant Australian state and territory legislation, as well as Commonwealth laws. Accredited bodies must also respect privacy laws as outlined in the Privacy Act 1988.

How Does An Accredited Body Demonstrate Compliance?

An accredited body can demonstrate its compliance by strictly following the rules and guidelines provided by ACIC. A program is in place to review the organisation throughout the length of the contract. This includes reviewing data quality, investigations into accusations of the company not complying, periodic reviews and ongoing assessments.

By monitoring the companies compliance to the Agreement, professional standards are kept and the correct laws are followed to ensure the protection of individuals using the NCCHC provider.

What Are The Expectations of An ACIC Accredited Body?

Once qualified as an accredited body with ACIC, the organisation enters into a legal contract. The organisation must administer certain protocols and increase security standards to be able to participate in the scheme and to access the National Police Checking Service.

Full compliance is expected throughout the contract and this will be assessed regularly. In some cases, access to the system will be terminated before the contract ends.

ACIC lays out 9 steps to reach full access to the service.

Collect police check application
Collect informed consent from the applicant
Verify the identity of the applicant
Lodge the application and monitor it
Receive check result
Provision of check result
Take care of any queries or disputes about check results
Retain information
Dispose of information

What Is Informed Consent?

Every Police Check (NCCHC) application requires consent from the individual applying for the check. Without the applicant’s consent, the check cannot be processed. It is the responsibility of the NCCHC provider to obtain consent, and the responsibility of the applicant to fully understand what they are consenting to.

Every applicant must read all information provided and understand how their personal and police information will be handled when applying for an online police check. They must then give consent to the NCCHC provider to submit the check on their behalf.

How Long Does It Take To Process A Police Check?

The National Police Checking Service is handled by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, accredited bodies and police agencies. The service will always aim to complete a National Police Check as soon as possible and have results turned over fast.

Roughly 70% are completed within 1 hour if no match is found and the applicant has No Disclosable Court Outcomes, while 30% are subject to further review and may take up to 15 business days to retrieve results.

Please read this linked article with information on why police checks may be delayed.

The accredited body you use is not responsible for the time taken to process the application. Once they have submitted your check, the process time is out of their hands.

How Do I Know If A Provider Is ACIC Accredited?

All ACIC accredited bodies are listed on the ACIC website, including Worker Checks Pty Ltd. Organisations will state on their own websites whether they are ACIC accredited.

If you want to know more about the credentials of Worker Checks Pty Ltd, contact us.

A failed police check

Failed police check?


A failed police check is not the end of the world!  Read on…


What to Do If a Potential Employee Fails a Police Check

If an individual fails a police check, it means that their criminal record has raised some concerns for the organisation conducting the check.

The result of a police check can vary based on the purpose of the check and the laws and regulations of the state in question. In some cases, a failed police check may result in the denial of employment, security clearance, or visa application.

It is important to note that police checks are just one aspect that is considered by organisations, and they may take into account other factors such as the nature and severity of the offense and the individual’s character and behavior since the offense was committed.

If you have failed a police check, you may want to speak to the organisation that conducted the check or seek legal advice to understand the implications and any potential avenues for appeal or resolution.


A ‘Failed’ Criminal History Check

A high number of job vacancy adverts now comes with a disclaimer along the lines of:

All offers of employment are subject to a police check clearance that is deemed satisfactory

Where a lot of employers go wrong is in assuming that this disclaimer (however it is worded) gives them complete coverage and allows them to either dismiss an employee or refuse an employee’s application if a national police check shows a criminal history. That is not the case.

The Legal Obligations of Employers and a Police Check

While most businesses are aware that to survive in the modern age they have to be both ethically and business-focused. That’s why so many are now requiring a background check on employees. In some businesses and industries, a criminal record check is required by law.

For example, if you run a business that works in the aged care or disability care sectors and you hire someone with a criminal history of sexual offences or violence then you may be punished by the authorities for employing that person. The challenge is ensuring that employees are not being discriminated against based on their police check and criminal history.

To ‘fail’ a background check doesn’t always mean that the person applying for a job is not legally suited to the position. That means you need to ensure that you interpret the nationally coordinated criminal history check with the right kind of guidance. By integrating the right strategies in your hiring process, you can potentially save yourself a lot of legal issues.

The key thing to determine is what constitutes a criminal check ‘failure’ for your organisation, the advertised vacancy, and for your industry.

When is a Criminal Background Check Deemed Unsatisfactory?

Say that you’re looking to hire an accountant. You get an application in response to your ad from a qualified accountant with an excellent and relevant work history. Unfortunately, the Police Check is returned and it shows that they have criminal convictions related to speeding in their car, or were arrested and convicted of being drunk and disorderly after their graduation day.

In those cases, the conviction is not for anything relevant to the advertised position, so would it be fair to deny hiring that person who is otherwise perfectly suited to the position?

However you choose to address this kind of situation will end up affecting the rest of your business. It tells your existing employees that you’re more tolerant of a criminal background check showing unrelated convictions. However, if you’re too strict then you could potentially be leaving your business vulnerable to discrimination charges.

It’s also worth noting that if you make your standards too high and you immediately deny an application based on the background check results then you could be missing out on amazing applicants.

The key here is to ensure that you keep standards high from the outset. All prospective employees need to know in advance about your way of dealing with ‘failed’ Police Checks. If you don’t, or you keep changing the bar, then you could face charges of discrimination by the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Can You Legally Refuse A Job Application after a Police Check?

If a police check comes back that shows convictions that are directly related to the offer of employment, then you’re legally entitled to either review or withdraw the offer. In those cases, if an applicant believes that they have been discriminated against they can make a complaint to the Equal Opportunities Commission.

For example, if you run a financial business and an applicant’s police check comes back showing convictions for theft, fraud, or dishonesty, then you have legitimate cause to deny that application.

Some employment types are prohibited from having a criminal conviction. Doctors, caregivers, and lawyers all being examples where some kinds of convictions on a criminal background check will mean immediate refusal of a job offer, or dismissal if the person is already working.

At its core, if a potential employee or an existing member of the team undertakes a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check and results are considered to be too high a risk, then the law states that you do not have to employ or retain that person.

It’s important to get the balance right. It means comparing the correlation between the type of conviction they have and the relevance to the role that they have applied for. It also means ensuring that the business itself is protected against reputational issues or the threat of litigation.

Being Sued For Criminal History Discrimination

In most Australian states (not including Victoria), an applicant can file a complaint against your business if they believe that they have been discriminated against in the recruitment process. Complaints like this are submitted officially to the Equal Opportunities Commission and are enforced by the Australian Human Rights Commission Act of 1986.

So if your process for evaluating the importance of specific convictions on a police check certificate is fairly stringent, your job adverts need to reflect that.

The state of Victoria is slightly different in that legislation there only protects existing employees and not any potential ones.

Overlooking a Criminal History Check that’s Unsatisfactory

All businesses and organisations have their own recruitment processes. Only if those processes result in a high risk for the public will the authorities intervene. Those authorities will also get involved if the employment process breaks legal employment procedures.

So if your business decides that overlooking certain convictions is perfectly acceptable then all company policy needs to communicate that fact. Likewise, if you take a more zero-tolerance approach to a nationally coordinated criminal history check that needs to be made as clear as possible from the outset of the recruitment process.

Taking a zero-tolerance approach to criminal history, while does help to eliminate any legal grey areas, can also mean that you limit the pool of talent that will apply for your advertised positions. That can be particularly frustrating if the convictions are not even vaguely relevant to the job.

One way to protect yourself and the business is to ensure that you don’t use a probationary status as a possible trigger for dismissal in the event of a ‘failed’ criminal history check. Ideally, you should ensure that your recruitment process includes the police check before you make any offers of employment. That includes probationary or otherwise.

By doing this, you don’t have to justify any particular reason for the application rejection. You don’t even have to mention the police check.

A criminal background check is one of the most important parts of recruitment due diligence. However, it needs to be more than a case of simply ticking a box and hoping for the best. Your entire employment policy needs to reflect your stance on convictions, types of offences, and relevance to each vacancy.

At its most basic, depending on the industry and the relevant official mandates, a potential or existing employee that ‘fails’ a criminal history check shouldn’t be overlooked.

As long as your business uses a fair and transparent process for the use of disclosed criminal records, then potential accusations of discrimination can be avoided. It’s an extremely sensitive area, and there is a lot of potential for mistakes to be made by both businesses and potential employees.

For lots of jobs in Australia, there is simply no need for a criminal record check. For those roles, the employer does not need to request information about criminal history. All employers need to read and understand Section 4 of the Australian Human Rights Commission. This states that to “decide whether a criminal record is relevant to the inherent requirement of the job”, you need to:

Identify the essential tasks, circumstances and requirements of the job
Assess whether criminal records are relevant to these tasks and requirements
Assess an individual criminal record against the inherent requirements of the job

When Should You Ask For a Criminal Background Check?

There are some useful considerations to take into account when it comes to finding the right time to ask for a criminal history check. Ideally, you should only request the police check for those applicants who have been shortlisted for the position. This helps to:

Avoid time-consuming and potentially unnecessary admin needs (processing a lot of consent to disclosure forms alone can take a lot of time)
Manage costs, since all police checks incur some form of fee
Minimise risks of seeing confidential information that’s simply not necessary

On the job application form and the advert itself, applicants need to be forewarned that an offer of employment is dependent on the findings of the police check. It should also be reiterated during the interview process.

It’s in your interest not to make any kind of job offer before you have received the results of a criminal history check. If you allow someone to start work, even for a probationary period, and their background check comes back with relevant convictions that make them unsuitable then you risk wasting business resources. It can also cause a lot of stress for the other employees.

Don’t forget the fact that although using a criminal background checking service like Worker Checks means that you get results quickly (usually within one business day), if a check is flagged for manual review it can take weeks for the certification to be emailed to you. This happens in around 30% of applications.

If you need to fill a position quickly, any delays in submitting your request for a criminal history check can be a problem. In those cases, you need to gain consent from the relevant applicants to get that police check process started.

Convictions of Existing Employees

Plenty of businesses and organisations will require that their workforce update their police checks regularly. In many cases, a member of your workforce might have received a conviction while employed by you. The good news is that the way to handle this issue is very similar to that when presented with an applicant with convictions.

It is up to you and your business management how you handle this situation. Ideally, if the offence is not relevant to the role of the employee and presents no risk to the business, then leniency is highly advised.

Overall, the more information that an employer has about their applicants and employees, the easier it is to exercise  more reasonable judgement when evaluating potential connections between the requirements of a position and a criminal record.

The need to remain transparent is essential. Employers will inevitably take longer to check an application from someone with a criminal record. This means additional pressure on applicants.

Whatever system you establish for when to request an Australian Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check and how you evaluate convictions in terms of the position, each decision needs to be made on a case-by-case basis. Look at the basic and inherent requirements of the role that they will be doing and the tasks that they will be expected to do.

A police check that comes back with convictions should never mean an absolute blanket policy of refusal (unless the vacancy is in a mandated industry or a role that means close contact with vulnerable groups).

In Summary

If a potential employee fails a criminal record check, it needs to be assessed according to the requirements of the vacancy. In many cases, you’ll find that the connection between the job and the criminal record is clear and a decision can be made easily. This is easier if your business or organisation deals with particular people or is a relevant industry.

Police checks will only provide some very basic information, and they will not include any specific details about the circumstances of a conviction. That can make it harder for an employer to understand if a conviction is relevant to a position. In those cases, an honest and transparent discussion with the applicant will need to be conducted. This will allow them to provide any relevant information.

This allows you to more professionally consider the relevance of the criminal record, the seriousness of the offence, and even factors like the age the applicant was when the crime was committed.

Conduct the right criminal background check and respond to it in the right way and your business will only benefit.